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Top 10 companies for women executives

It may still be a man's world, but women are making slow but steady progress finding their place at the table in corporate executive suites across the nation.

The National Association or Female Executives (NAFE) just released their annual list of the Top 50 Companies for Executive Women, which it says “recognizes American corporations that have moved women into top executive positions and created a culture that identifies, promotes and nurtures successful women.”

NAFE, a division of Working Mother Media, says there are certain criteria a company must meet in order to be considered for its annual list. It must have at least two women on its board of directors, have have a minimum of 1,000 employees – and it must be a public or private for-profit company (NAFE also has a separate, Top 10 list for nonprofits).

 The group also excludes divisions of companies involved in the business of providing work/life services, or consulting or government agencies.

NAFE points out that 28 percent of executive officers on its Top 50 list are women, up from 25 percent last year and 22 percent in 2012.

Diageo (DEO), the multinational beer, wine and spirts company, was one of NAFE's Top 50 this year. The company offers programs – including subsidized, back-up daycare and adult/elder care, flexible working arrangements and opportunities for employees to work from home – that it says help attract a diverse workforce.

In a statement, Eliana Zem, senior vice president for human resources for Diageo North America, said her company believes career management “is for everyone and not a select few, and so is the need for balance between life at and outside of work. We aspire to make Diageo a place where our employees would want their friends and families to work.”

Of the 50 companies on the NAFE list, 35 were also on the 2013 Fortune 500. But the association notes that 27 percent of companies on its Top 50 list have women on their boards of directors, compared to 17 percent of Fortune 500 companies – as well as a higher percentage of female CEOs (10 percent) than those on the Fortune 500 (4 percent).

Also among the Fortune 500 companies on the NAFE list is General Motors (GM), which recently named its first female CEO – although there has been some controversy over how much she is being paid, compared to her male predecessor.

Women also make up 22 percent of profit-and-loss corporate executives on the NAFE list, while 25 percent are executives responsible for divisions with revenues of more than $1 billion.

Here are NAFE's top 10 companies as ranked by the percentage of each company's senior managers and corporate executives who are women:

  • AstraZeneca (AZN) – 40 percent of senior managers and 27 percent of corporate executives

  • Ernst & Young LLP – 45 percent, 33 percent

  • General Mills (GIS) – 39 percent, 37 percent

  • Grant Thorton – 34 percent, 20 percent

  • IBM (IBM) – 26 percent, 22 percent

  • KPMG – 37 percent, 18 percent

  • Marriott International (MAR) – 40 percent, 34 percent

  • Proctor & Gamble (PG) – 34 percent, 31 percent

  • State Farm – 40 percent, 34 percent

  • Verizon Communications (VZ) – 31 percent, 29 percent

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